Mitchell centre seminar series
|Starts:||16:00 7 Nov 2018|
|Ends:||16:00 7 Nov 2018|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
Mario L. Small, Harvard University
Understanding Personal Networks: On the Limits of Big Data and the Perils of Common Sense
When people seek emotional support, how do they decide whom to talk to? Network analysis and common sense would both suggest that people will go to those they are closest to. Based on in-depth interviews with graduate students in one university and nationally representative survey data on adults 18 and older, this talk, based on Small's new book, Someone To Talk To, finds reason to question that belief. Shifting from what people say to what they actually do, Small shows that widely-agreed upon assumptions about the nature of strong ties do not stand up to qualitative empirical scrutiny and do not accord with how people in their ordinary lives interact with those they are close to. The findings will suggest that, in big data era, qualitative research has become more, not less important to social science.
Mario L. Small, Ph.D., Grafstein Family Professor at Harvard University, is the author of award-winning books and articles on networks, poverty, organizations, culture, methods, neighborhoods, institutions, and other topics. He is currently using large-scale administrative data to understand isolation in cities, studying how people use their networks to meet their needs, and exploring the epistemological foundations of qualitative research. His latest book is Someone To Talk To (Oxford). A study of how people decide whom to approach when seeking support, the book is an inquiry into human nature, a critique of network analysis, and a discourse on the role of qualitative research in the big-data era.
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